Tag Archives: liberal democrats

“The Lib Dems in the last Parliament were far and away the most effective opposition of my lifetime”

British writer Edward Docx has taken to the pages of the Guardian to praise the work the Liberal Democrats did in the last Parliaemnt and how this will become very clear when George Osborne announces his Autumn Statement next week.

The 20,000 people who joined the party in the wake of our election meltdown know that, as do the voters who are turning back to us.

Docx made several key points about the Liberal Democrat actions in the coalition years:

There were two oppositions in the last parliament: Labour and the Liberal Democrats. And, this week more than ever, it is worth saying that only the latter made any difference to the real lives of real people. Why? Because they were in government.

Refuse, in other words, to allow Osborne’s self-serving narrative to present itself as the only story. And, of course, this is exactly what the Liberal Democrats were doing day-in and day-out during the last parliament on behalf of the majority of reasonable and none-ideological people who did not vote Conservative.

Danny Alexander has taken some stick in his time, some of it deserved, but he was able to hold the Tories back:

For every fiscal decision in the last government, the Liberal Democrats (through Danny Alexander) asked for a distributional analysis so that they could see where the pain of cuts would be felt – whether on the richer or the less well off. What this meant in practice was that every time the Tories attempted something that placed an unfair burden on the poor, the Liberal Democrats first illuminated the policy for what it was and then either blocked it (often repeatedly) or insisted upon a reciprocal burden being placed on the better off.

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So you want to be Liberal Democrat Party Treasurer…

…said very few people ever. However, there have been some bold and enterprising individuals who have taken the role on over the years, to whom we are extremely grateful.

The most recent incumbent was Lord Ian Wrigglesworth, who stepped down in September, so the party is seeking someone to fill this important role.

This isn’t about financial admin, book-keeping, financial strategy and telling people sternly that they can’t spend money we don’t have. That role is taken by the Chair of the Federal Finance and Administration Committee, currently Peter Dunphy. It’s mainly about fundraising – making sure the party has the money it needs to fight campaigns strongly.  The ad on the party website explains more:

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No, the Liberal Democrats do not owe Police Scotland £800,000 (or any other sum for that matter)

Get into an argument with any cybernat and, sooner or later, when you’ve won the argument, you’ll have it thrown at you, a bit like a modern Godwin’s Law, that the Liberal Democrats should pay their £800,000 bill to Police Scotland.

This is all to do with the security arrangements for our conference in Glasgow in 2013. South of the Border, the Home Office picks up these costs. As policing is devolved, the Scottish Government had responsibility and refused to do so. That meant that, apart from a small contribution to cover the costs of accreditation from the UK Government, Police Scotland had to pick up the tab themselves. Nothing to do with us.

Every time I get this, I refer the cybernat in question to this response to a freedom of information request which comprehensively debunks the idea that we owe any money to Police Scotland at all. Read my lips,

By way of explanation, it has been reported in the media that there is an outstanding invoice of £800,000 for this conference; however, this is factually incorrect. No invoice for the policing costs of the conference was ever generated and the Liberal Democrats did not enter into any arrangement with Police Scotland to provide policing.

In case it wasn’t clear the first time:

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Is the pro-EU case strengthened by the #StrongerIn campaign?

I have to be honest, I found yesterday’s launch of the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign deeply uninspiring. They seem to have learned none of the lessons from the Scottish Referendum. It’s not enough to win the vote. You have to win the campaign, too. Setting out a long retail list of facts and figures is not going to cut the mustard. Of course it’s important to know that our bank balances and jobs benefit from being in the EU. Of course it’s important to have former top police officers tell us that the European Arrest Warrant keeps us safer. You need the melody to engage people, though, and there was none of this. It was all bass notes. There was no celebrating of the fact that the EU has meant that our parents, our generation, our children and, we hope, generations to come are not fighting each other on European battlefields.

What was worse was the implication that this campaign was the patriotic one and that those who want to leave the EU were described as “quitters”. That is deeply unhelpful language that does nothing to engage people. I loathe the use of the word “patriotic” in politics at the best of times. It is pure poison and the way it’ll be flung around by both campaigns renders it utterly meaningless. This is all a bit deja vu because I remember being so sickened by Better Together styling itself the “patriotic” campaign that I didn’t go to its launch.

I don’t think for a moment that I am BSIE’s  target audience. It really doesn’t matter what this lot do. I’m going to vote to stay in the EU even if Stuart Rose and Karren Brady spend the entire campaign re-enacting the George Galloway/Rula Lenska scene from Celebrity Big Brother. However, our opponents will be well-funded and well organised with a message that is a strong layer of populist froth on top of some deeply negative, divisive and scapegoating message, just like the Yes campaign was north of the border. It’s pretty clear that winning the campaign is important. There needs to be an air of sunshine and positivity about the pro-EU side and the many mistakes made by Better Together must not be repeated. The assumptions they made about their target audience ended up just driving people into the hands of the Yes campaign. 

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A tale of two conferences in Bournemouth

It was a little weird leaving Bournemouth a week past on Wednesday to think that the Greens would be moving into the same space a couple of days later.

The Liberal Democrat Conference had a super atmosphere and was always very busy. I couldn’t believe the number of people who attended those 9am sessions to do such things as scrutinise the financial accounts and most times when I went into the hall for speeches or policy debates the only seats left were in the gods.

All the fringe meetings were packed to capacity as the Conference was the biggest we’d ever had in terms of members attending. It was great to meet so many new members, too and all I spoke to were having a great time.

Lib Dem member Ryan Lailvaux, attending his first Conference, said:

What an amazing conference it had been. An opportunity to meet great human beings and take back wonderful memories. Never have I been so inspired or so proud to be part of a movement. A liberal movement.

Compare and contrast with this article on Bright Green which talks about the Greens event:

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We’re all “Preamble Lib Dems”

There has been a very minor outbreak of people using the label “Preamble Lib Dem” to describe themselves.

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Read my lips: No seat reduction

I just got back from two days at the Conference in Bournemouth. The absence of discussion of strategy was deafening. However, no less than three people either said to me or mentioned from the dais the reduction of seats from 650 to 600 “which the Tories are going to do”.

I have bemoaned the lack of psephological nous in the party before but, really, some members seem to like to wallow in misery and fantasy.

It is true that the seat reduction as proposed was set to disadvantage us and Labour at the Tory benefit. That is a given. However time and events have moved on.

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After Corbyn, what’s left with the Liberal Democrats?

There has been a tendency in recent years for the Liberal Democrats to define the party in relation to others. We will give a heart to the Conservatives and a brain to the Labour Party. Look left, look right, then cross.

There will be those who will argue that the election of a left wing MP to the Labour leadership means that the Lib Dems will have to keep close to the the centre. Any temptation to reposition itself on the left wing of British politics after leaving the coalition should be resisted.

Immediate reactions of this nature should be avoided as should any crass remarks about the ‘economic illiteracy’ of ‘Corbynomics’. Corbyn’s approach is rooted in serious economic thinking. Whether people disagree or not is a different issue but illiterate it is not. To that end Sal Brinton’s response to Corbyn’s election was both disappointing.

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It’s the Tories, stoopid

“Bye bye, new Labour”, “Death of New Labour,” “Red and buried,” (actually, that’s quite a good one, not often you find me saying anything complimentary about the Fail on Sunday). So scream today’s headlines. A casual assumption that the party is well and truly over for Labour, leaving the Tories in power forever.

I am not scared of socialist ideas suddenly being put into the public space. We need to have a grown up debate about them and as a liberal, I’ll utterly oppose anything that reeks of centralised state command and control, but it’s a perfectly legitimate discussion to have.

No, the most utterly terrifying prospect at the moment is the thought of the Tories getting a free pass. This lot make Thatcher look like a cuddly teddy bear. Another victory in 2020 and they could soon be making Sarah Palin look positively sensible. The Tories think they are going to walk the next election and that they will not have any credible opposition over the next five years and they will spend millions on demonising Corbyn in a manner which will make the Miliband puppet poster look like a puff piece.

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Pregnant pause

Ruth BrightHere is a picture of a woman. There is something strange about her. Can you spot it? Well of course you can. She is from a very small and curious minority. She is a Liberal Democrat activist! The bump? Well that puts her in a numerically far more significant group. 700,000 women in this country have a baby each year. Having a baby is a normal thing to do. All the time people are saying that they want more candidates to be “normal” people. But being a pregnant candidate some years ago made me feel that I was in a freak show, the ultimate “elephant in the room”. Sadly I do not think that things in the party have changed very much.

Here are my top 6 clumsy attitudes to my “political” pregnancy:

  • Doing a speech and being told by a former councillor that I mustn’t get too big;
  • Being told by a former PPC’s wife at a party fundraiser that I was “a walking caesarean”;
  • “Oh no not another one”- reaction from a party chair when he spotted my second pregnancy;
  • “I’m afraid I could spot you all the way down the corridor” – party veteran at the Commons when I was 8 months pregnant;
  • “Have you got another one in there?” comment from local treasurer at my failure to shift the post-baby weight
  • Removal of my baby birth announcement from the local party website as it might help my imminent re-selection (!).
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Now, about those 100,000 members…

Those of us who have been around for a while will remember  Simon Hughes’ pitch during his presidential campaign, that under his leadership the party membership would double. It didn’t

It wasn’t his fault. The party had to put the work in. There was nothing wrong with the ambition, but plucking a number out of the air will not in itself get you there.

Now I am happy to support Tim Farron as leader, but during the campaign I have to admit I thought that his target of 100,000 members by 2020 was similarly pretty meaningless. But now we have it, lets stick to it.

This is not an article about how to recruit more members. There are training sessions for that. I recommend that you contact your local regional party to organise a recruitment training session in your area.

What does a national figure of 100,000 mean for your local party? Currently we have roughly 60,000 members, so an increase of 40,000 is needed, which is 67% and so the membership for your local party membership should increase by at least 67% for the party to be on target.

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LibLink: Tim Farron – ‘There is only one opposition now – and it’s not Labour’

Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Tim Farron raises prospect of a repeat of Labour’s disastrous 1981 split. He pitches for the LibDems to replace Labour as the only credible opposition to the Tories:

With just 20 days before Labour chooses its new leader, many who believe Britain needs a strong Opposition are holding their heads in their hands.

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“No holds barred” discussion on sexism in Lib Dems to take place in Scotland

About a year and a half ago, I wrote an article about how the behaviour of some men was driving women out of politics. I said:

I’ve seen good women driven away from active politics out of sheer exasperation at the way powerful men exclude and demean them. Participation in politics should not require putting up with such behaviour and politics itself is better when it more accurately reflects the society we live in.

A start would be for us all to be much more aware of our behaviour and that of others. Men in powerful positions, have a look at your own behaviour. Do you exclude women, do you behave aggressively towards them in a way that you would never do to a man? If so, change your behaviour. Decide that you won’t do that in future. It’s not difficult.

The rest of us need to look out for women who are being treated like this and challenge disrespectful behaviour. Even if we don’t agree with what they say, we should always support their right to be heard and treated with dignity. Let’s tackle our everyday sexism.

The comments thread that followed was dominated by men, some more helpful than others, but, behind the scenes, so many women contacted me privately to share their experiences of sexism not just in our party but in others. I don’t for a minute think that our party is any more sexist than society or other political parties, but that’s not to say that we should just put up with it. This party needs to show that it is a welcoming place for everybody.

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When politics gets so serious that politeness gets thrown to one side

I’ve been in the Liberal party/Liberal Democrats for 25 years. I am happy to say that I have great friends and colleagues in the party and it is a pleasure to work alongside them. 99.99999 recurring % of Lib Dems are unfailingly joyous to deal with.

But I feel I ought to observe that there is a minuscule number of people who have hearts of gold, have the noblest of intentions, but don’t seem to realize that they are not observing basic politeness.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 24 Comments

We need to work more on engaging party members

Autumn 2012 conference - Some rights reserved by Liberal DemocratsAny passing observer will note the state of national politics with little more than vague disinterest and apathy. A Centre-Left Labour Party lurching between a nationalisation candidate and three also-rans. A Tory Party sharpening the knives ready for the evisceration of most public services, chasing the ghost of UKIP and Scottish Nationalists pressing a separatist agenda regardless of the recent referendum. There’s a malaise in public life of seeming inevitability to politics, that what is done is done and there’s no opportunity for change.

Most people have only a cursory appreciation of political rhetoric – Conservatives being for free markets and self-interest, Labour being for working people. But we’ve yet to establish the Liberal identity in common consciousness. Saying “We’re about freedom” doesn’t quite cut it. I’ve seen much discussion, on social media, and on blogs such as Lib Dem Voice, offering varying analyses of how we might have a deficient policy platform, or how a strategic mis-step might have cost us so dearly at the last election. This isn’t addressing the elephant in the room – perhaps we need to reform how we operate and engage with our internal supporters as a Party.

Posted in Party policy and internal matters | 9 Comments

Pay the top, squeeze the lot – the intuitive definition of Toryism

It is indicative that the ‘Welfare Bill’ made a news splash mainly for the Labour Party’s disarray “now we vote, now we won’t”. Otherwise no emotions shown or played, no questions, no strong public reaction. (With the exception of Tim Farron’s speech). The conclusion? Business as usual.

At the other end of the political spectrum, Labour is leaning left – we do not know the policies yet but the move is apparent. Whatever the result of the Labour leader’s election it will be ‘business as usual’.

What it shows is that Labour and the Tories are reverting to their stereotype. During my hustings as a PPC for South Holland and Deepings I argued that we cannot rely on ‘business friendly Labour’ and ‘working people Tories’. I reasoned that if and when they are put under pressure, if and when they have to make a decision in face of uncertainty, they will retort to their ‘intuitive reaction’: so the Tories will cut taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor and the Labour expresses preferences for Jeremy Corbyn.

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I’m not currently a member of the Lib Dems, but I’m teetering…

I do support the party and have done since before it was the Lib-Dems. As “Chairman” of the Plymouth Polytechnic Liberal Society in the early 80s I worked with other “grown-up” Liberals to get David Owen re-elected in his Devonport seat in those heady days of the Liberal-SDP Alliance.

I campaigned with David Penhaligon, I played host to Paddy Ashdown, I had lunch with David Steele. I can remember times back then when 8 MPs seemed a far-off fantasy.

But I’ve drifted from time to time too. I voted for Tony Blair’s New Labour and was broadly behind his policies for all of his time at number 10. I may even have supported the invasion of Iraq, but at the time I thought someone had worked out the endgame, which it turned out they hadn’t. When Brown blustered his way into Downing Street I saw the end was nigh, and I felt that bad times were coming, and it was second nature to resume my former allegiances.

When Nick Clegg went into coalition with the Conservatives, I believed it was what the country needed: a Liberal voice at the heart of Government, and a much-needed break on the ruthlessness of the Tories. To be honest, I must have been out of the room when Nick Clegg made his promise to scrap tuition fees, and I could never see why people harped on about it, ignoring all that was right about Lib Dems in power.

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Something for the weekend: the great and glorious Lib Dem game of “what if?”

At the Glasgow conference in October 2014, there was something of an organisational snafu surrounding the BOTYs (Liberal Democrat Voice Blogs of the Year) awards ceremony. At the start of the session, the actual awards themselves, were not in the conference room where they needed to be. They were in a room upstairs in the hotel. The snag was that the room in question was locked. And the only person who we knew had a key was inside the room sleeping the sleep of the righteous – no doubt smilingly cuddling up to all our shiny BOTYs.

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Opinion: Wear a yellow flower to honour a Lib Dem friend

A few years ago I gave a training session at Wyboston for target seat candidates on the role of the PPC.  I tried to make it interesting, thought provoking, even different. One of the roles I had on my slides was attending funerals of long standing activists.  The idea aroused some discussion with a couple of those present dismissing the idea, and one person present saying they were going to concentrate on the living only.  Well I would still believe that one of the roles of a PPC is to attend funerals of long standing activists.  Let me explain.

Here in Camden we have a strong and sociable local party – food and drink are a large part of our staple campaign diet – we try to make it fun, we have a scheme whereby if you can’t go, but can afford it, you pay to attend and those less able to afford are given free access.
With this sociability goes a sense of family – this is something I often hear Liberal Democrats talk about up and down the country – well so with family we pay our respects when they pass away.
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Opinion: It took a day to lose those seats in Parliament – it can take a day to win them back

The following was first submitted to LDV as a comment. The team felt it was worth publishing as a full post. The author gave his permission for this.

I write this as a new member awaiting the paperwork. I joined the party because I am pro European (accepting a need for increased reform & democratic accountability), am absolutely appalled with the prospect that a Conservative government might withdraw this country from the ECHR and because I cannot reconcile democracy with government access to personal emails. In addition I was impressed with the Liberal Democrat record in Government and the performance of Liberal Democrat Ministers.

Given the post election scenario which I, like many, found shocking I appreciate that rebuilding is required, but I feel that this may be easier than many think.

Firstly, the Conservatives made commitments in the election campaign that will be hard to deliver without some drastic cuts. The electorate will be able to see what the Liberal Democrats in government prevented the Conservatives from trying to introduce. We have already seen this in action. There was no mention of the HRA in the Queens Speech – it is clear that the campaign that the Liberal Democrats have run, combined with some high profile noises from the Conservative back benches and legal community, has revealed the home truth, that they would have a hell of a fight on their hands. The objection should be the withdrawal from the ECHR which this country and a Conservative government helped form in the first place.

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Opinion: Lib Dems and the politics of protest

February 15th 2003 - Iraq war demo in LondonThe other week I asked whether the Lib Dems were a party of government or a party of protest.  Many welcome comments were made, including a good one pointing out that a political party can be both: that to reach government it needs to be a vehicle of protest, to identify what’s wrong so that it can offer change.

As I thought about that point, I read Ben Marguiles’ blog on Liberal/Lib Dem electoral performance in relation to other parties.  Whether Lib Dems like it or not, his observations highlight the contingent relationship between the party and the politics of protest.

Marguiles observes that previous analysis shows that when the party system is polarised – i.e. the two main parties diverge from the centre, the Liberals and their successors have done well.  This was the case between 1945 and 2010 when Britain had a two-and-a-half party system.  But where the political party system as a whole is polarised, the Lib Dems suffer.  Marguiles puts this down to the rise of other political parties, like the Greens, SNP and UKIP, which all drew votes away from both the centre and both Labour and the Tories.  The result?  The Lib Dems saw their share of the vote drop.  Marguiles does add a rider to this; that the party’s in government may also have made it vulnerable, but that may be due to insufficient data analysis having been done on that specific topic.

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Opinion: What sort of leadership do the Lib Dems need?

Attention for many Lib Dems is now turning to the leadership election: the relative merits of the two candidates, their personal histories and political preferences.  This reflects the traditional approach to leadership: what is it that makes an individual a ‘great’ man or woman?

Particularly useful for understanding how leaders act is the dichotomy between ‘transformative’ and ‘transactional’ leadership.  Transformational leaders tend to be seen as ‘active’: not only do they have a clear vision, but they also innovate by undertaking political change. In many ways they challenge their followers by acting independently of them; Paddy Ashdown’s abandonment of equidistance in 1992 may have been just such a case. Transactional leadership may be ‘passive’ but this doesn’t mean that it is means standing still. It can be incremental, building steadily on previous changes. Charles Kennedy’s leadership was probably an example of this.

However, leadership doesn’t operate in a vacuum. In political science we pay attention to the wider context or environment that leaders have to work within.  These may be close, like the leader’s ‘followers’ (party membership), or they may be more distant, such as the political order (constitution, composition of government, etc) and wider social and economic forces underpinning it.

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Opinion: The Liberal Democrats, liberalism and me

Ok, So I have heard many people asking what do the liberal democrats believe? What is Liberalism? and where do I fit into this? Well, I am going to attempt to answer these questions the best I can without boring you all to sleep. From the Preamble to the Constitution:

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We are committed to fight poverty, oppression, hunger, ignorance, disease and aggression wherever they occur and to promote the free movement of ideas, people, goods and services.

So that’s the basic stance on the party’s views and where the Liberal Democrats are different to other parties. They believe that everyone has the right to live a good life, and where everyone has the opportunities to be the best they can be, regardless of age, colour, gender, religion, location or how wealthy you are, and we all know that currently and previously, these things do alter our paths and rights to achieve in life. I personally know how this feels as i’m sure many of you do too. If you are not lucky enough to be able to afford to go to a good school your opportunities are lowered, or if you are from say rural areas then your opportunities are greatly different compared to those living in city centres. I believe the same opportunities should be available to all people in all areas of the country (even the world). But, we can not achieve this level of equality if those in charge are not in favour of equality.

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Opinion: 10,000 reasons to be cheerful

Different people adjust to adversity in different ways.  Some were unwittingly preparing for 8 May for months.  Some didn’t see it coming.  Others may only be starting to sense it now.

All three groups were represented at the informal catch-up I had in Yorkshire last Friday, and all were present at Liberator magazine’s post-election drink last night.  The welcome set of thank-you receptions and new members’ parties will provide the opportunity for catharsis and preparing this fightback.

And it really is a positive thing.  For whatever reason, we have an unprecedented and totally welcome surge in membership.  Some relishing a new future; some doing what I did in 1992 and joining this great party so a shock general election result like that doesn’t happen again.  And many of the rest of us who have had our grumpy moments in recent years are feeling curiously optimistic too.

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Opinion: Time for constitutional reform..but not the way you think

It’s time for constitutional reform – of the Liberal Democrats. We need to redesign our party structures to make them fit for the challenges we face.

While there has to be a big debate on what needs change and what the best options are, here’s a rundown of options worth considering:

1. Either abolish membership fees or create an associate membership which costs nothing and has some of the privilege of full members. Why should you have to pay to join our movement instead of donating when you wish and are able to?

2. Reduce barriers to participation within the party. This means introducing one member, one vote everywhere in the party and should involve eliminating, or heavily reducing, the period of membership required to be able to vote in internal elections. In the Canadian Liberal’s leadership election the winning campaign signed up over 100,000 new members alone with the incentive of being able to vote for the party leader – why can’t we do something similar?

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Sal Brinton – Libby is our phoenix

Sal Brinton Sal @ Crohns & Colitis Rec _2 CROPPED Nov 13Here is Party President Sal Brinton’s video address to members this afternoon:

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Nick Clegg resigns as leader

Nick Clegg has said that he needs to take responsibility for the “crushing” election result for the Liberal Democrats and he resigned with great dignity.

He said that the election had been crushing, much more so than he expected and he had to take responsibility for that. He then went on to quote Edinburgh Western candidate Alex Cole Hamilton’s tweet after the 2011 Scottish election. Alex said that if the price of his defeat was that no child would spend a night in an immigration detention centre again, then he accepted it with all his heart. Nick gave a passionate defence of the good things we’d done in government and said that he thought history would judge us more kindly than last night.

He then talked passionately about the need for British liberalism. He acknowledged it wasn’t faring well against identity politics and the politics of fear but it was really needed.

Fear and grievance have won. Liberalism has lost. But it is more precious than ever and we must keep fighting for it.

It is easy to imagine there is no road back. There is.

This is a very dark hour for our party but we cannot and will not allow decent liberal values to be extinguished overnight.

We’ll update this post with reaction to Nick’s resignation. I’ll write at greater length about his leadership when I’ve had some sleep, but I have huge admiration for the man. He has borne the difficulties of the last five years with dignity, good grace, humour and resilience. He has been ridiculed by vested interests from left and right. You could argue that any Liberal Democrat leader in such a position would have faced exactly the same. He’s made mistakes, from the Rose Garden to secret courts to the bedroom tax to the one that everyone associates with him. Here’s his statement in full.

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The best UK government of my lifetime

I kicked off the campaign with this post and I thought I’d re-run it the night before we head to the polls. I wrote a book chapter about the coalition in the shadow of a rollercoaster. That’s how the last five years have felt. There have been moments when I’ve winced and moments when I have been immensely proud of our ministers. All in all, though, Britain is in a much better place than it would have been without us. All that horrible stuff you see in the Tory manifesto about banning non-specified non violent extremism, all the stuff about taking all benefits from young people, all the illiberal, immigrant-bashing, poor-demonising, rich-enriching nonsense wouldn’t in their manifesto. They would already be law. I hope that the government elected tomorrow is a force for economic fairness and stability, transformational political change and has an open and internationalist approach. If there are Liberal Democrats in it, it will tick all of these boxes. Anyway, here are my thoughts from five weeks ago. 

This post will be open to new and infrequent commenters. 

I’m not going to lie, when we went into coalition with the Tories, I did not feel comfortable with it. Working with the party who had destroyed the country I grew up during the 80s  in was never going to be easy. It’s not about comfort or ease, though. It’s about doing good and enacting liberal values. We’ve made mistakes – howlers, even. Who hasn’t? Can you say that you’ve got through the last five years error free? We have much to show for it. For every child who hasn’t had to spend months in Yarl’s Wood, for every disadvantaged child who has new opportunities at school, for those who benefit from reforms to mental health, for those who have workplace pensions, for pensioners benefitting from the triple lock, for those people across the world who benefit from our aid. for those who are now free to marry the people they love, it’s been worth it. Despite all the constraints on us having only 8% of the MPs and a fifth of the government, we have made a very strong, liberal mark.

Despite everything, this coalition has been the best UK government of my lifetime. That’s quite a long time, however much I like to pretend that I’m a young person. Certainly the likes of Blair, Thatcher and Callaghan didn’t set the bar very high, but we’ve achieved a lot. It’s been a roller coaster and I’m far from satisfied with everything it’s done, but I am incredibly proud of Lib Dem ministers, among them:

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The final Liberal Democrat party election broadcast – all 3 versions: It’s decision time between self-interest and grievance or Lib Dem fairness, tolerance and decency

Here’s the party’s final party election broadcast, It’s decision time now for all the people we’ve met in the series. The film argues that Liberal Democrats have brought compassion and fairness, built on consensus and co-operation, to Britain.

Your vote will be the difference between a government of self-interest and grievance or a coalition of tolerance and decency.

Here’s the Scottish version and listen to who is voicing it. There’s more emphasis on what we stopped the Tories doing.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged and | 12 Comments

Independent leader article argues for another Lib-Con coalition

Today’s leader article in the Independent praises Nick Clegg:

Posted in News | Also tagged | 15 Comments

Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRuth Bright 29th Nov - 12:18pm
    Wouldn't it be much more fun to replace this with Fantasy All-Women Shortlist? How about an 11 of: Brophy, Pidgeon, Blundell, Lashmore, Rigg, Lindsay, Pearce,...
  • User AvatarZoe O'connell 29th Nov - 12:16pm
    Malc - That argument ("Views of the majority" and "many would be horrified") is one that can and has been used against every minority group...
  • User AvatarCaron Lindsay 29th Nov - 12:09pm
    Matthew, just to be clear, false claims of rape are very, very rare. The issue is expecting a woman who has been raped to have...
  • User AvatarDavid Raw 29th Nov - 12:02pm
    I wish people would realise what a powder keg the whole Syrian Issue is. If Turkey shoots down another Russian plane - then what ?...
  • User AvatarJennie 29th Nov - 12:02pm
    Betty, thank you for writing that; it must have been very difficult. David is right that this is, in part, our fault. For that I...
  • User AvatarMatthew Blackburn 29th Nov - 11:59am
    I didn't even know about this until reading here. It's disgraceful to incentivise women to claim they were raped. The reason I say 'claim' is...